No. 2 Old Mill downs St. Mary's Baer leads Pats to 69-59 victory

February 14, 1993|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

Old Mill's Christine Baer likes to finish what she starts.

The 5-foot-6 senior guard helped to stake her team to an early lead over visiting St. Mary's last night, and then she provided the spark the second-ranked Patriots needed late in the game to secure a 69-59 victory.

Baer, who finished with a game- Girls basketball

high 25 points and a career-best five three-pointers, scored 17 in the first half -- including 13 in the first quarter -- to help Old Mill (17-1) take a 44-32 halftime lead.

The Patriots increased their lead to 16 early in the third quarter, but the sixth-ranked Saints (20-6) came back.

Bridget Smith's pull-up jumper in the lane cut Old Mill's lead to 59-55 with 6:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Then Baer took over.

After sitting out much of the third quarter in foul trouble, Baer wasted little time in making her presence known. She helped break St. Mary's momentum by hitting a three-pointer to give the Patriots a 62-55 lead.

Baer's steal then led to a basket by Stacy Himes (12 points) to make it 64-55.

Himes then pulled down a defensive rebound and Baer was left open again to make another three-pointer, increasing the Patriots' lead to 67-55 with 3:50 left.

St. Mary's, which was led by sophomore forward Annetta Davis (22 points), did not challenge after that.

"In the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter, they were playing me real tight," Baer said. "Then suddenly, they left the baseline wide open."

It seemed that Catholic League champion St. Mary's could do little wrong in the first quarter, however. The Saints made eight of 14 shots in the period, led by Smith, who scored nine on 3-for-4 shooting from the field.

Despite their hot shooting, the Saints never led by more than three.

Baer's three-pointer just before the end of the first quarter gave the Patriots a 22-21 lead and they never trailed after that. Old Mill used a 14-4 run to pull away in the second quarter.

"They're just a very good team, but I thought we played a good game," St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson said.

Although Old Mill has won 13 straight and its smallest margin of victory has been 18 points in that span, Patriots coach Pat Chance believes her team has the edge in close games.

"They know what it's like to be in a pressure ballgame, and that experience does make a difference," Chance said. "Some of our games in [Anne Arundel County] aren't that close, but we have played a lot ofclose games in the playoffs and at Christmas."

It was no coincidence that Chance scheduled St. Mary's this late in the season, in preparation for her team's bid to win its third consecutive Class 4A state championship.

"I told my athletic director that I wanted this game in February," she said.

Said Baer: "We haven't played a tough team in a while. St. Mary's really made us work hard on offense and not rush things."

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